Monday, April 6, 2015

Lutheran Church in D.C. maintains beehive on roof and sells honey for money for World Hunger

What’s the buzz?

This congregation in Washington, D.C., will tell you

Tom Knoll likes to talk about the day First Trinity Church, Washington, D.C., went from 150 members to 15,150 and this “Lutheran megachurch” became all the buzz.
That was last April when some 15,000 bees arrived, were blessed and, as the pastor says, “they became Lutheran.” But it gets even better. At the height of last bee season (June), the Lutheran bee colony housed on the roof of the tiny urban church grew to about 70,000.
First Trinity has a history of caring for creation, banning plastic foam products,
changing to more energy efficient light bulbs and buying into cooperative electrical energy. Then a light bulb above Knoll’s head went on: why not install beehives on the roof?
This process was possible, or at least made easier, because member Paul Diehl has been a beekeeper for decades and teaches classes in beekeeping.
Both Diehl and Knoll are quick to encourage other congregations to do something similar. They know bees are crucial to earth and human survival. Bees are the main pollinators of the fruits and vegetables we eat, and the flowers we enjoy. But they’re dying at an alarming rate, which concerns scientists and folks like Diehl and Knoll.
When their idea started to take shape, only a few other buildings in our nation’s capital had bees on their roof — the National Geographic building and the White House, Knoll said.
Last winter, the congregation placed an order for a queen bee and 15,000 worker bees, which arrived in a 3-pound box and then settled on First Trinity’s roof.
Diehl, who Knoll describes as a “bee evangelist” is filled with bee facts and hive details. One of the first myths he put to rest is the danger of bees, using words like “tame,” “docile” and “passive” to describe them.
The Lutheran bees spent the summer pollinating nearby gardens, including those on Capitol Hill, and producing 12 gallons of honey that the congregation bottled last September on “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday.

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